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'Dallas 1963' Co-author Bill Minutaglio Discusses JFK in Texas


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Bill Minutaglio, co-author of Dallas 1963 takes us back to a not-so-simpler time

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Do you see any similarities or parallels between the present-day religious and conservative right’s attacks on the left and the hostility brought forth by the anti-Kennedy camp in the early ’60s? And on that note, how much has really changed in Texas?

I was in Detroit talking about our book and I met a retired auto worker up there, who said “you could change the title of your book to America: 2013.…” He said there’s extremism, people just yell at each other from the left and the right, and it doesn’t seem to be too productive and it can be scary. And then he added, “why does it seem to often come out of Texas?…” I’ve traveled around a little bit to various places, New Orleans, Michigan, the D.C. area … and I’m hearing the same. People are saying the book seems awfully similar—emphasis on the awful—50 years later there’s still this hothouse, people seem unleashed and almost fanatic in their accusations and they demonize people. [There’s] the sense of: How do we at least get back to some dialogue or have healthy disagreements as opposed to this vitriol and screaming going on?… There really seems to be amazing parallels between 1963 and 2013.

In some ways, the book can be considered a story of how unchecked, blind ideological hatred manifests. So, is this a cautionary tale?

I don’t know that our book is a cautionary tale but I think that what happened back in Dallas was a cautionary tale—unequivocally, absolutely, 100 percent—it should be really studied … The cautionary tale in any … society is to be wary of ideologues who purport to represent the majority and, in fact, don’t.... We should be vigilant in the media, in the houses of worship, in government, in every step against letting folks steal the thunder, steal the microphone and move from a bully pulpit to something worse and even more aggressive.

Dallas 1963

By Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis | Twelve | $28 | 384 pp

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